This is not an incredibly long book (the last half is a phenomenal list of resources for fathers), but it is a wonderful resource for fathers facing a...moreThis is not an incredibly long book (the last half is a phenomenal list of resources for fathers), but it is a wonderful resource for fathers facing any difficulties in custody battles with their exes. A very easy read, Anne Mitchell's writing is straight and very to-the-point. Having years of experience as a Father's Rights attorney allows her to speak knowledgeably and directly about these issues.
I personally am fortunate to be in a stable situation with my wife and children, but I immediately started passing out some of Ms. Mitchell's advice to friends and family members that are fighting the uphill battle against fathers in the family court system. I believe that, with her advice and guidance, they will be able to be the great fathers that they WANT to be but the system and society doesn't want them to be.(less)
It's a little silly at times and there's some hilarious fourth-wall breaking here and there, but ultimately this is a great book to introduce the fund...moreIt's a little silly at times and there's some hilarious fourth-wall breaking here and there, but ultimately this is a great book to introduce the fundamental teachings of the Buddha for someone interested in learning them, including some practical application examples for regular people (not isolated monks).
I picked this up hoping it would serve to help me introduce the teachings to my almost-7yo, but even though it breaks things down very simply, the comics themselves don't exactly help break it down to language a child can understand. Still, it can serve as an aide. :)(less)
If I were rating this book just on the Saint of Killers storyline, this definitely would have been a 5-Star read. The Arseface stuff was okay and the...moreIf I were rating this book just on the Saint of Killers storyline, this definitely would have been a 5-Star read. The Arseface stuff was okay and the Good Old Boys was good for some twisted crap, but it was an absolute pleasure to read the Saint's story. As Ennis talks about in his Foreword, it's clear he's a lover of Westerns and nothing beats a genre story written by a real student of the genre.
Plus, you hear stories all the time about characters do evil that Hell spat 'em back out. Not often you get to actually read that story. Great stuff again. :)(less)
Jonathan Gould describes his first full-length novel as "Tolkien meets Dr. Seuss." While, on the surface, this is a completely accurate way to prepare...moreJonathan Gould describes his first full-length novel as "Tolkien meets Dr. Seuss." While, on the surface, this is a completely accurate way to prepare someone to read his wonderful epic comedic fantasy, it does not fully do the work justice. When I first started reading it, I agreed that it felt like The Hobbit recast in Whoville.
Having previously read Gould's first two pieces (the satiric novellas Doodling and Flidderbugs), though, I was prepared to look into Magnus Opum with a deeper perception. What I found was that Gould's brilliant satiric mind found a way to send us messages even if it was obscured in a larger work of parody such as this.
The story begins Tolkien-ish enough: an adventure-seeking member of a comfortable diminutive race (Magnus Mandalora of the Kertoobis) ventures outside of his happy, comfort zone on a quest to follow in his brother's footsteps. The parallels to Lord of the Rings and other epic fantasies are also found in the two main races he deals with: the wise and beautiful Cherines (elves?) and the grotesque and barbaric Glurgs (orcs?).
However, like any truly great parody work, Gould also brings his own staggering imagination into the fray. This is where his master satirical pen steps in and elevates Magnus Opum from mere genre mimicry to a wonderful piece of original art. Through Magnus's journey, we learn lessons on the absurdity of materialism (blasted Plergle-Brots), gossip & the hidden truths in rumors (never trust a Doosie), and the problems that a simple misunderstanding of cultural differences can cause.
The world of Magnus Opum is so amazingly other with its odd creatures, customs, and naming conventions (hence the comparisons to Seuss's whimsical worlds). At the same time, Jonathan Gould is skilled enough to show parallels to our own culture and customs that we can enjoy Magnus's story as an outsider, but still see the absurdity present in our own societies. At the end of the day, the story of Magnus Mandalora of the small homely village of Lower Kertoob is fun, funny, educational, and a master work of both parody AND satire rolled into an easy-to-read family-friendly story. (less)
Man, I blew through this book pretty quick (for anyone taking notes, it is the first 12 issues of the comic). Definitely digging it so far. Reading Ki...moreMan, I blew through this book pretty quick (for anyone taking notes, it is the first 12 issues of the comic). Definitely digging it so far. Reading Kirkman's afterword, I agree with his idea about the lack of satisfying ending for zombie movies.
He really is a student of the genre and his story is great. The characters show depth and it's really obvious he's not winging this story issue-to-issue. Can't wait to get deeper into the comic and finally start watching the show. :)(less)
Hard to believe that the first volume in this series was TAME compared to what was coming. Definitely enjoying the progression of this story and can a...moreHard to believe that the first volume in this series was TAME compared to what was coming. Definitely enjoying the progression of this story and can also see where Kevin Smith got some of his inspiration for Dogma (which I doubt he'd refute, considering he wrote the introduction to this particular volume).
I am not a big fan of horror (especially the Final Destination, Friday the 13th, blood and gore stuff), so I was very happy to find out that The Evil...moreI am not a big fan of horror (especially the Final Destination, Friday the 13th, blood and gore stuff), so I was very happy to find out that The Evil Within was actually much more of a thriller than what I pictured horror books being. Maybe it is my own misunderstanding of the genre, but the short stories in this anthology were not gory for the sake of gore. In fact, they were extremely well-written stories that explored some of the depths of human psychology that makes the really good thriller/horrors work (Saw, Se7en, etc.).
There is a great mix of stories here... a detective story (by Crystin West) that could be used as a script for an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent (and with a unique, original twist that even the million episodes of Law & Orders haven't used, to my knowledge), a first-person account of escaping from being buried alive (by Amber Scott), the quick-hitting science-thriller about the results of stem-cell research (by Matt Posner), and one about the cleaning lady in a creepy, old church (by Kelli McCracken). Throw in a few love-stories-gone-wrong with ghosts, witches, and other evil forces (by Patricia MacCallum, Rachel Thompson, and Elena Gray) and this compilation is fantastically diverse.
Not only did I enjoy this anthology immensely, it has also opened me up to wanting to explore more in a reading genre that is outside my typical comfort zone. It is fun to get inside the heads of characters in these thrilling situations, much more so than the visual experience of watching horror movies. The Evil Within has made me realize that my distaste for horror MOVIES shouldn't necessarily carry over to a distaste in horror BOOKS. I am glad I was able to ease myself into the genre with these shorts and look forward to reading more.
I loved the twists and turns. I tend to figure out twists early in thriller movies (I knew the twist in the Sixth Sense and Fight Club far earlier than most people), but a few of these completely caught my off-guard. I highly recommend this for fans of thrillers, ghost stories, and spooky tales. I also recommend this for folks, like myself, who maybe tend to swim in more happy, fantasy-laden waters of the literature spectrum. None of these stories drove me to complete fear, but a few of them definitely creeped me out and made me turn on a few extra lights at 5AM (which, in some ways, is worse than just pure fear).
I can't wait to see what anthologies the Indie Book Collective throws out next!(less)
This book really amazed me. Let me be upfront from the beginning and tell you that I know the authors involved in this collection. I was fortunate eno...moreThis book really amazed me. Let me be upfront from the beginning and tell you that I know the authors involved in this collection. I was fortunate enough to discover the Indie Book Collective through Goodreads.com in May of 2011 (coincidentally, the same month I was publishing my debut novel) and have been actively involved with them ever since (and have no intentions of stopping any time soon).
What amazed me, though, was how little I knew of the individual journeys of these people that I consider my colleagues, partners, and friends. It's funny that as many times as I've had email conversations with Amber Scott or had Twitter banter with Rachel Thompson (hey, I even spent a day hiding out on Elena Gray's blog during the October Blog Tour de Force: Masquerade), we never discussed the path that each one had taken to land us all in the same collective indie author pool. Maybe it is because we have all learned to be forward-thinking and driven.
This anthology is not a how-to (although you can learn from it). It does not have a preachy, pro-indie agenda (although it can help dispel some of the anti-indie myths). It is exactly as it represents itself to be: a series of very personal essays that shares individual stories and journeys.
The cover of this book is amazingly apropos. Often the first steps of the indie journey feels like walking through an unfamiliar wood without a GPS. Reading these stories will illuminate the footsteps already taken by authors like the contributors to this collection that you can choose to follow. It will also show you that none of those that have been successful (myself included) truly did it alone. Independent does not mean alone!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is already taking steps into the forest or even those that are just starting to take a peek at the trees from a distance. And those of you that feel completely lost and worry that you may have taken the wrong path? Yeah, you should read this as well and find out how not alone you truly are.
As a big fan of Gould's work in his first satire, Doodling, I went into Flidderbugs with very high exp...moreJonathan Gould's brilliant satire strikes again.
As a big fan of Gould's work in his first satire, Doodling, I went into Flidderbugs with very high expectations. Once again, Gould subtly takes jabs at facets of society that are just so ridiculous that we need to see it through the eyes of this small colony of bugs to realize how inane humans can be.
Gould's description of the political process of the Flidderbugs society is hilarious. However, when you compare it to the democratic processes in 'civilized' democracies around the world, you realize that it is actually quite sad... because that's how the party-based systems of democratic cultures operate.
The endless bickering about useless details instead of resolving the core issues that threaten their people, the party-based disagreements without caring to learn facts, the complete cover-your-ears ignorance of the party-line discussions, and the influence of money/business in politics. Gould captures all of these elements with hilarious wit that makes you forget that we people do the same things.
My favorite part of the story was Kriffle's visit to the Flooderversity. The absurdity of the scientists focusing on all facets of the leaves except the number of points including the philosophical discussion of what makes a leaf a leaf and the incomprehensible science-speak of Professor Skervvle were spot-on.
I highly recommend this work to any fan of satire and anyone who is capable of laughing at themselves for falling into some of the same traps that plague the Flidderbugs. I also highly recommend this to politicians, hoping that they can learn from these little 'bugs that they are there to serve in the best interest of the people and not fight over inconsequential details. (less)
When I first read the description for Excelsior, I though, "neat, it sounds like Cool World meets Comix Zone!" While reading this wonderful book, I re...moreWhen I first read the description for Excelsior, I though, "neat, it sounds like Cool World meets Comix Zone!" While reading this wonderful book, I realized I was both right and wrong at the same time. In both of those examples (a movie and and old Genesis video game), creators come face to face with their creations to realize that they are not just alive in their imaginations.
In Excelsior, Matthew Peters discovers that his made-up world and story is not really imaginary at all. Thrust into the continuing storyline of a plot he thought he was writing, Matthew has to find strength in himself that he never knew was there.
The reasons why Matthew has visions of Excelsior and Danab IV are not only explained, they are also an integral and very original part of the story. I was amazed at how well defined the story and world is. Reading the author's notes, I see that Sirois spent 15 years developing this story and his passion and understanding of the history is very clear.
Like so many works, I felt connections to lots of other stories, sci-fi and fantasy alike. With the recent reboot of Thundercats, I definitely felt elements that reminded me of the Thundercats storyline (which is awesomely awesome) such as the magic jewels and swordplay. Sirois has done a fantastic job of borrowing small elements of familiarity from comic books and cartoons and combining them into an amazingly original and fantastic story.
I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys sci-fi, comics, fantasy, and action-adventure stories.
I would finally like to point out how much I loved the relationship between Matthew and his uncle Jason. They show a great example of how a tragedy can pull a broken family together and make both of the two of them better people in the end.
I look forward to more works by Sirois and the continuation of the Excelsior story.(less)